Slovenia's Mitja Kosovelj at the 2013 WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge (© Organisers)
Mitjia Kosovelj and Antonella Confortola dominated the 10th edition of the WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in Szklarska Poreba, Poland, while Italy took the team titles in both the men’s and women’s races.
Athletes from 16 different nations were present at the event and half of them went home with at least one medal.
In the men’s race, Kosovelj and Romania’s Jonut Zinca ran together for the first two thirds of the race. But Zinca faded over the last 10km, allowing Kosovelj to run away with the victory in 3:07:36.
Andrew Davies of Wales moved steadily through the field, going from 15th at 12km to ninth at half way before passing Zinca just a few hundred metres from the finish line, taking the silver medal. Davies clocked 3:13:39 with Zinca taking bronze in 3:14:00.
More than a minute behind the medallists, Italy’s Emauele Manzi finished fourth in 3:16:01, just five seconds ahead of USA’s Zac Freudenburg. The host nation’s best runner, Marcin Swierc, finished ninth in 3:21:10.
Manzi and team-mates Tommaso Vaccina and Massimiliano Zanaboni all finished in the top 14, securing the team gold medal for Italy. The Czech Republic took silver ahead of Wales.
The women’s race was dominated by Italian athletes. The trio of Ivana Iozzia, Antonella Confortola and Ornella Ferrara led for most of the way, until Iozzia began to struggle over the final 10km, eventually fading to eighth position.
Confortola went on to win in 3:44:51, finishing almost four minutes ahead of Ferrara (3:48:41). The biggest surprise was Poland’s Anna Celinska, who came through to take bronze in 3:51:21, much to the delight of the home crowd.
As was the case in the men’s race, Italy took the team honours in the women’s race. Scotland took silver ahead of neighbours England.
WMRA for the IAAF